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Updated: May 22nd, 2011 1:46pm
Twins discussing options with Kevin Slowey, who could be demoted

Twins discussing options with Kevin Slowey, who could be demoted

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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It appears Kevin Slowey won't be in the Minnesota Twins' bullpen much longer. Where he'll go remains unclear.

Manager Ron Gardenhire told 1500 ESPN he had a long talk on Saturday with Slowey, a career starter who admitted trying to become a reliever "is just really hard" for him and could be demoted to Class-AAA Rochester in the coming days as the Twins try to reinforce their bullpen.

"We're trying to do something for him right now," Gardenhire said, "whether it's -- whatever, send him to the minor leagues and let him start, because it's just hampered our bullpen to where you have a real hard time figuring out how to get him in games, other than if one of our starters get totally knocked out. We had (Anthony) Swarzak up for that."

Slowey, 27, had made only four relief appearances in four previous big-league seasons. But once Scott Baker beat him out for the last spot in the rotation this year, Slowey had to accept a spot in the bullpen.

The right-hander appeared in three of the Twins' first four games, then landed on the disabled list with a strained throwing shoulder. Since returning to action on May 7, Slowey has appeared in only three games, allowing seven earned runs in 11 innings (5.72 ERA), and has frustrated Gardenhire with his need for extended rest.

"It's been real hard," Gardenhire said. "We were asking him to be able to step up and give us some big innings, and it's been real hard."

The Twins need help in the bullpen, especially after Glen Perkins (strained oblique) landed on the disabled list early Sunday morning. Though the options at Rochester are limited -- Gardenhire said Jim Hoey and Eric Hacker also were discussed -- the Twins are desperate for another arm that can be used more than once every five days.

So, their options with Slowey are to option him, displace someone to get him into the rotation or try to trade him, and that last option wouldn't seem to make much sense at a time his value is lower than it was two months ago. Entering the season, Slowey had a career record of 39-21 with a 4.41 ERA, 361 strikeouts and only 79 walks in 473 1/3 innings.

Fox Sports North reported during its game telecast on Sunday that Slowey is scheduled to have an MRI on his abdomen in the next couple of days, but Gardenhire never mentioned an injury.

"I honestly think the right thing (is to let Slowey start somewhere), and that's what we're trying to talk about now," Gardenhire said. "We talked with Kevin, we're going to talk with Billy (Smith, the Twins' general manager) when we get home and try to figure out the right thing for Kevin to make sure he keeps his arm in good shape and all those things."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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